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Middle aged Jakob Beer reflects on his life, this reflection which is all consuming. He is a Polish born and raised Jew. When he was an adolescent, his parents were shot dead and his sister Bella hauled away by the Nazis during World War II. Jakob witnessed these events from a hideout in their home. Running away, Jakob was found by Athos Roussos, a Greek national working on an archaeological project in Poland. Athos managed to smuggle Jakob out of Poland back to his native Greece. A few years later, Athos and Jakob moved to Canada where Athos began work as a teacher. Jakob has continual dreams about Bella, especially her piano playing but never knew Bella's ultimate fate. Jakob's reflections, especially the emotions stemming from his thoughts, lead to him becoming a writer of a successful book. His marriage to his first wife Alex, an outgoing and upbeat woman, fails because he can't get out of the somberness connected to his past at this time of his life. It isn't until he comes to ... Written by
This probably says more about my own gray matter than it does about the movie, but I was a good 20 minutes into "Fugitive Pieces" when I realized I'd already seen it. Still, there's something slightly generic about the film; well more than slightly, as Holocaust-survivor movies have become one of the more popular genres going. Let's just say that for me, "Pieces" was not a very memorable example of the genre.
One obvious problem: the protagonist, Jakob, is the least interesting character in the film. Yes, I know that he's a survivor, and that's made him laconic and introverted, but my god is he dull. (I haven't read the book and have no desire to, so perhaps the film is being faithful to the source material. If so this was a mistake.)Another problem: the actor, Stephen Dillane, is at least a decade too old for the part. The scene where he and Rade Serbedzija are shown on camera for the first time is jarring -- Dillane was 50 when the movie was shot; Serbedzija was 60. I find it beyond incredible that not one but two completely hot babes would totally fall for this dweeb. Only in sitcoms, and in the movies.
What I liked: this is a beautifully shot movie. Every frame is a marvel of composition, light and color. And while the Jakob character was a bit dull for my liking, I did appreciate that the movie didn't beat us over the head with the Nazis from Central Casting, as if we were just learning about their atrocities. There are a few, but they aren't gruesome nor gratuitous. In fact just about every character in the film is basically a good guy just trying to muddle through.
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